With life being so busy and hectic at times, it’s a pleasure to be invited to someone’s home as a guest for dinner, a party or a weekend visit. Although it is not necessary to bring a host or hostess gift, it’s nice to show our appreciation for the generosity and hospitality of others.
There can be a lot of fuss associated with buying host/hostess gifts. What do you get for someone you may not know very well? How much do you spend without overwhelming your host or breaking the bank? Do you have to bring a gift every time you visit the same household? A kind gesture can become a big headache and sometimes it seems easier to just stay home in your pajamas and watch Netflix.
But, with a myriad of “etiquette” articles and advice about social niceties, it is rather easy to simplify host/hostess giving and stick to a formula. My mother’s mantra is to “never show up on a doorstep with your arms hanging” so I have been programmed to always be prepared. At the end of the day, it’s really about being sincere and not the cost of what you are cradling when they open the door.
So, if you are lucky enough to get an invite for drinks or a hot homemade meal, keep it simple on how you show your appreciation. If you don’t know your hosts very well, a bottle of wine is always a safe bet. Flowers require arranging, which your host may not have the time to do, so a potted arrangement is a no hassle alternative.
Stay away from expensive presents! Expensive gifts can make everyone feel uncomfortable for many reasons. Hosts feel overwhelmed; others guests feel annoyed or embarrassed and you feel like you were overzealous and took the appreciation thing too far. It’s supposed to be a small token, so keep it small. Put the effort into thinking about what would be a nice gesture as opposed to a grand gesture. Some of the best gifts I have been thanked for were homemade jams and preserves. Using ribbon, twine and a neatly written label can elevate a homemade food item into a presentable gift item. Just ask Martha Stewart.
If DIY is not your game, lean on the experts to do the work. Gift sets come in all shapes and sizes and range of products. Common sense is essential when choosing one due to the sheer volume of gift basket options. Number one is to pick products that you have tried and enjoyed. Another option is to choose products based on the company; perhaps you want to support your local community or a business that supports a charity or cause. Again, like most things in life, it comes back to sincere, thoughtful intentions. It is also okay to purchase for one person if your hosts are a couple. My husband and I have never battled over who gets the scented candle or tube of hand cream.
It is not necessary to bring a gift every time you step over the threshold into someone’s home. Stopping by a friend’s house for a coffee shouldn’t require a gift basket. I usually consider the effort the host has to put into the event and adjust accordingly. Sometimes a gift can be considering what may be needed that evening or a gift that keeps on giving, such as an activity to keep the gaggle of kids occupied so the adults can sit back and relax.
Life gets busy, especially around the holiday season. Sometimes everything can feel like a chore. But, the season of parties, giving and gathering is upon us. With autumn in full swing, it is a time for friends and family to cluster around, break bread and share a few laughs. Most importantly, it is time to give thanks and show our appreciation for those around us.
gal meets glam / lil luna / wine and glue / sarah hearts